Poetry of the Non-Prose Kind


Allison Adair

It doesn’t matter who answers
the phone, it’s the same forecast:
snow following snow,

road closed followed by Jessie
returning to John, wrist healed
and you can hardly tell anything

went wrong, until she waves hello.
Or is it goodbye. You know, this much
cold, this high, batters the eye

until all it sees is warmth. The girls
lining up crayons before dinner.
Coals orange as a daffodil’s trumpet.

So easy to forget tomorrow’s ash.
In a ghost town, bowls of thin soup
steam on every edge. Nothing

can hurt us. The pioneers. We forget why
we came—but look at that mountain.
Was anything ever so new?

Self Portrait through a Photographer

Cutter Streeby

and you tell me you take your men from different

angles and catch them in your frame and gather

them in your drag : and I imagine you make them

like fish of the sea : you see : natural like this : and

you show me images and images and images and say

look : they are beautiful here and the meat of this

city is plenteous for me : and I ask if you’ve been

captured before : and you show me yourself hung in

the black ropes and dancing and say : this is aerial

silk : the art of suspension : and you read these lines

over my shoulder and it is dark in the city and your

studio is cold tonight and the light from my

computer is blue over us and alma inversa you say :

alma inversa : these men are not animals ayes : but

people I love in the moment I am with them :

te ves en mis llamas : you see yourself in my flames

Portrait of Jan Peart

Cutter Streeby

and if : at the foundation of all there lay only a

wildly seething power which writhing produced

everything that is great : if a bottomless void : never

satiated : lay hidden beneath all : what then would

life be : like Feynman said : nature uses only the

longest threads : : and your passion in this image

tells me take Isaac to Moriah and leave him as a

burnt offering on the mountain : : his body a

question : do all of our dead cease to exist in the

head : in the heart : in the hand of the living : and

the answer the same : unequivocally : no : : a

woman told me once : camino bailando y con tus

palabras : I walk dancing and your words surround

me and turn me and turn me around and around :

vueltas y vueltas y vueltas y cuando paro : and when

I stop : ya no se donde estoy : I can no longer say

where I am : : you told me once : if you’re

passionate burn it : be good at suffering : and after

this flower I can say only one thing : we’re at the

very beginning of the human race : and the sky is

black for a reason

Unanswered, Untranslatable

Devi S. Laskar

On her mother’s tongue, the word is “andho”
blind unseeing, blind’s undoing. Blind blind.

In her mother tongue, the word’s embedded
in the dim, inside the well deep with night.

“Andho-kar” is darkness, synonymous
with a sky scorned by stars, emptied of moon.

Memory is praised and plundered, rued, like
a yew tree fallen to blight. You see our

weather as foregone conclusion but berth
is not a birth except when it is one.

Dirty Bits

Merrill Cole

No, it’s not pornography.
The suture hardly holds.
It sags like old glass.

Cut in half,
A smile becomes sellable.

No, not ghosts.
The laundry of the dead,
Listing in the wind.

Stains quiet in early light.
Among the eyeless dolls
And unpriced socks.

Hit with limbo,
The body grows damp.

No, call it a garden,
Where sallow flowers bloom
Like low wattage bulbs.


Catherine Rockwood

No dignity for you, Inachus’ daughter;
come early-modern times you’ll be a byword
with hooves flailing in air, always embarrassed.
Down the long centuries your spectators
will watch you plunge and wave that unkempt arse
at Heaven. They sit gravely, reins in hand,
these equites. How equable. You veer,
and see a polished steed prick up its ears.


Vicki Iorio

between yellow and green

The monks Carthusian make a life elixir
The cross is steady while the world is spinning

Drunk on St. Bruno’s rapture of Mars
who fireworks the uptown world magenta-funk

the Brothers lay down on straw bedding

I dye my hair cotton candy pink
and ride The Cyclone

We Live Our Lives through Other People’s Bodies

Derek Mong

      till we’re no more than campfires
our families encircle. Our families then—

beneath the lantern of a saline bag—
rehearse their own deaths through us.

Meanwhile our pores open inward
under a deluge of morphine

and memory is all we have left to eat.
Slowly it grows to enclose us, before sailing

like a whale’s belly lightlessly on.

Our organs then, if we gift them to the living,
will rise, piece by piece, on cloaks

of dry ice. The small planes that await them
chirr over this city like crickets.

See their shadows leap freely, like those
of skimmed stones on the drowned.

And the men here—paused at a crosswalk
and listening—can feel their heels

lift as the crowd pushes them on.

The Book of Sex

Derek Mong

The names we write here cannot be recorded,
though ownership drives all who yearn.
These pages—widespread as a motel Bible’s—
burn in those who wish they were burned.

I know those who’ve read them blindfolded,
the silhouettes more lavish when veiled.
We parents do them one better: this print
lifts us—half sandpaper, half Braille.

Across 400 East

Amy Jo Trier-Walker

I can’t tell you about Delanoi’s sheep.
They aren’t in the pasture
across from the west woods anymore.
Medicare didn’t cover her Alzheimer’s.
I can tell you they ran to him every morning
up the meadow with the horse and two dark cows.